AMD Radeon Pro WX 5100 & WX 4100 Workstation GPUs Review

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by Rob Williams on February 3, 2017 in Graphics & Displays

While AMD is keeping busy with the imminent launch of Vega GPUs and Ryzen CPUs, it’s catering to professional users with its brand-new Radeon Pro WX series GPUs. For our first in-depth look, we’re taking the sub-$500 WX 5100 and WX 4100 models for a spin in the workstation market.

Page 4 – SPEC: SPECapc 3ds Max & Maya, SPECviewperf & SPECwpc

When it comes to benchmarking hardware for serious use cases, there are no better people to turn to than those at SPEC. I like to call them the “masters of benchmarking”, as each one of their tools are meticulously crafted by professionals to deliver results as relevant and accurate as possible – a goal shared by us at Techgage.

For testing the performance of workstation cards, we take advantage of two SPECapc benchmarks – 3ds Max 2015 and Maya 2012 – as well as two that don’t require a standalone application: SPECviewperf and SPECwpc. While the Maya benchmark might be growing a little long in the tooth at this point, it still scales well with current GPUs.

SPECapc 3ds Max 2015

SPECapc 3ds Max 2015
AMD Radeon Pro WX 5100 & WX 4100 - SPECapc 3ds Max 2015
M2000WX 5100WX 4100W4300
1080p 0xAA (CPU)5.885.905.905.89
1080p 4xAA (CPU)5.875.885.855.88
1080p 8xAA (CPU)5.875.885.825.87
1080p 0xAA (Large Model)4.594.304.063.65
1080p 4xAA (Large Model)3.642.822.292.07
1080p 8xAA (Large Model)3.292.752.262.01

Overall, NVIDIA’s Maxwell-based M2000 cleaned shop here, which means that when the elusive 2000-series Pascal card drops, we could see AMD falling even further behind. It is interesting to note, though, that the WX 5100 came ahead of the M2000 in the 8xAA test, no doubt thanks to its much beefier memory bandwidth (211GB/s vs. 106GB/s).

SPECapc Maya 2012

SPECapc Maya 2012
AMD Radeon Pro WX 5100 & WX 4100 - SPECapc Maya 2012
M2000WX 5100WX 4100W4300
Shaded4.093.583.453.75
Shaded HQ5.132.652.554.34
Textured4.393.743.593.84
Textured HQ5.752.972.864.85
Wireframe3.663.483.463.49
Selected4.723.943.813.89
Highlighted4.694.194.074.07

This is a bit of an outdated benchmark at this point, but it’s our best look at general Maya performance. Interestingly, this is one test where AMD falls a fair bit behind, with even the last-gen W4300 coming ahead. It could be that this type of scenario is no longer optimized in AMD’s driver, so we’ll explore this more in time for our WX 7100 review.

SPECviewperf 12

Whereas both SPECapc benchmarks used above stress a variety of different components of their respective tools, SPECviewperf’s target is singular: viewport performance. One reason I like this test is because it utilizes software we couldn’t otherwise test with (due to the lack of a license); namely CATIA, SolidWorks, and Siemens NX.

SPECviewperf 12
AMD Radeon Pro WX 5100 & WX 4100 - SPECviewperf 12

The WX 4100 experienced an odd drop in performance vs. the W4300 in SPEC’s Maya 2012 test, but things go back to normal in SPECviewperf. Here, the WX 4100 performs much better than its predecessor in every single one of the tests – in some cases by a huge margin (medical, energy, and Creo, especially).

If it’s a match-up between the WX 5100 and M2000 we’re looking at, the strengths flip-flop. NVIDIA offers unparalleled performance in SolidWorks (the two-gens-ago K5200 performs near the top here), and also energy, but AMD fights back hard in other tests, such as ShowCase, Siemens NX, and Creo.

SPECwpc

The “w” in SPECwpc stands for “workstation”, and it acts as a bit of an “overall” testing suite. In some ways, it combines the goals of its other tests and combines them into a single benchmark. Thus, the results are split into six categories, and the result of one might matter more to some people than others.

SPECwpc
AMD Radeon Pro WX 5100 & WX 4100 - SPECwpc

In this system-wide test, the WX 5100 comes close to the M2000, but falls just a bit short overall (the one exception is that AMD performed better in Product Development). The more fair matchup would be between the M2000 and WX 4100, and even there, AMD’s low-profile solution doesn’t fall too far behind. In fact, given that the WX 4100 is about the size of a long smartphone, and is half-height, its performance is all the more impressive.

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Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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